Thursday, August 5, 2010

Mandatory breastfeeding

Model Gisele recently stated that breastfeeding should be mandatory worldwide.  Um, I don't think so.  Don't get me wrong, I am all in support of breastfeeding.  It is definitely the primal way of feeding a young child.  However, I am more in support of moms.  I'm sure the majority of paleolithic mothers did breastfeed their babies but I bet there were also circumstances when it wasn't possible.  She had to rely on other mothers to nurse her child.  That is rarely acceptable in America today.

As much as I would love all mothers that want to nurse be able to I don't think our society is set up for it.  Nursing mothers routinely cover their babies or go into separate rooms to feed their babies.  Young girls do not grow up seeing nursing as a normal natural part of the pregnancy cycle.  Breastfeeding is not a skill that is taught by older more experienced family members.

Making breastfeeding mandatory will only make women resent nursing and punish those who aren't physically able to breastfeed.  To really encourage all mothers to breastfeed we need:
     *Longer maternity leave
     *Lactation consultants covered by medical insurance

What are your thoughts on making breastfeeding mandatory? 


Fairion said...

If breastfeeding were mandatory, Froggy would not be alive. I think it is pretty clear what I choose

Andrea said...

I think there are bigger issues to worry about. I don't care how you feed your baby, just feed your baby!
Education would be great, longer maternity leave would certainly help, but in the end there are those of us who are not able to do it (either physically or mentally) and we shouldn't be made to feel like less of a mother.

We're just a small family of said...

Mandatory, no, but more accepted by society, yes. I have raised many an eyebrow when I nurse my kids in public places like church, but frankly I feel like wherever it would be socially acceptable to give a baby a bottle, I should be able to nurse my child.

Jennifer said...

Gisele stopped nursing her child at 3 weeks. In my opinion she is just trying to stir up a controversy so she can get her name in the news. I think 'real' moms (meaning not media hogs) are not nearly so judgmental of each other. We each have enough obstacles to our day to worry about what other people are doing.

Jennifer said...

You should absolutely nurse your child wherever you want. I nursed Ben just about everywhere and got a few rude comments - mostly from teenage boys. It seems that the bigger the baby the less socially accepted it is.

Joanna said...

Great topic! I agree with We're Just a ... You can't mandate it. Even though my son is 4 months old, I am relatively new to breast feeding. He was a preemie and had a hard time learning. I kept trying but it was the most frustrating experience. I spent many feedings crying and giving up, looking for a bottle. I was under the care of a lactation consultant too!
I have used all methods of feeding my boys - formula, pumping, and nursing. Nursing is definitely the easiest and most economical. I definitely understand that it is not always possible. I nursed my son at a restaurant last night. I didn't get any dirty looks and the waiter actually looked me in the eye to ask if I wanted a refill on my drink. I couldn't believe he looked me in the eye instead of averting his gaze! That is not the norm but it should be. Nursing is natural and should be looked at as such. I will continue to nurse whenever, wherever as long as he needs me to (to an extent - not when he is packing his back for Kindergarten).

Karla said...

Mandatory is pretty ridiculous. There definitely needs to be a lot more education and support for moms overall, including breastfeeding. It's not as easy as just deciding you are going to breastfeed. New issues constantly arise (at least for me!)